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Tamil: Int.. Convention Resolutions Passed


The International Convention Resolutions passed

Whereas there are two nations (Sinhalese and Tamil) in the island of Ceylon which occupy separate contiguous areas, which had separate kingdoms before the advent of western colonial powers and which were administered separately even by them till 1833, when the British brought the two nations under one administration for convenience;

Whereas on independence, power was handed to the Sinhala nation, and the Sinhalese discriminated against and oppressed the Tamils in every sphere of activity including education, language, employment, industrial and infrastructure development, and land usage, as admitted by many Sinhalese including Presidents Jayawardane and Kumaratunga;

Whereas the demography of the Tamil homelands (as defined in the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord) was changed and continues to be changed by the state-aided colonization of those areas by the Sinhalese, and the driving away of Tamils and settling of Sinhalese in their homes;

Whereas the Constitution was changed in 1972 and 1978 without Tamil participation, giving pride of place to Buddhism and specifically stating the form of government shall be unitary;

Whereas parliamentary protest, satyagraha (non-violent demonstrations), and dialogue did not redress Tamil problems, but only produced repeated communal riots against Tamils with thousands killed and billions of rupees of property being destroyed culminating in the pogrom of 1983;

Whereas, since the Satyagraha of 1961, Tamil areas have been constantly under army occupation by the 99% Sinhala army, with currently over 200 camps;

Whereas after requesting a federal type of government and being refused, Tamils finally gave the mandate at the 1977 elections to restore the Tamil state; and when this was refused, and as a last resort, the youth took to arms to carry out the people's mandate;

Whereas all Tamil groups met with the Sri Lankan government under the auspices of the Indian government in Thimpu, Bhutan, and demanded four cardinal principles, namely, the recognition of Tamils as a nation, recognition of Tamil homeland, the right to self-determination for Tamils and citizenship for all Tamils who were made stateless, all of which were turned down;

Whereas since 1990 the government unleashed state terrorism against Tamils;

a) Indiscriminately bombing, shelling and strafing of Tamil areas resulting in the destruction or damage to residences, schools, hospitals, places of worship, businesses and infrastructure, cut off electricity, telephone and water services and enforced an economic embargo on 72 items including food, medicine and other necessities besides those required for earning a living.

b) Indiscriminately arresting, torturing, raping and killing of civilians resulting in over 50,000 Tamil civilian deaths to date, and over 850,000 leaving the island as refugees.

All of which amounts to genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to which the Sri Lankan government is a signatory;

Whereas the government of Sri Lanka is following a scorched earth policy by destroying cultivated crops, damaging cultivable lands and burning large tracts of forest areas;

Whereas, since April 1995, state terrorism has intensified with the army capturing Tamil areas and conducting victory celebrations reminiscent of medieval times, and aggressively rounding up and arresting innocent civilians, making people flee their homes resulting in over 750,000 internal refugees suffering innumerable hardships due to lack of shelter, food and medicines, with many living under trees and dying due to lack of food and medicines - particularly in areas not under control of government forces;

Whereas the government had enforced press censorship, refused entry to local and foreign journalists to Tamil areas, and prevented NGOs from operating in those areas resulting in people outside these areas not being aware of conditions in them;

The convention resolves to appeal to the Government of India, other world governments, and the world community to pro-actively engage and pressurise the Sri Lankan government to:

Stop human rights violations such as
the indiscriminate bombing, shelling and strafing of Tamil areas;
the arrests, torture, rape and killing of innocent Tamil civilians;
embargo on food, medicine and other necessities of life to Tamil areas;
denial of care of refugees who have fled their homes by depriving them of adequate shelter, food and medicines;

Desist from interfering with refugees leaving by boat to India;

Permit NGOs to work in Tamil areas so that they may provide help to refugees;

Allow journalists, both local and foreign, to visit the Tamil areas and report freely on the conditions there;

Cease further colonization and settlement of Sinhalese in Tamil areas;

Desist from destroying cultivated and cultivable lands and forests;

Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and rescind the Emergency Regulations;

Solve the national problem politically rather than pursue a military solution as the government is doing now;

Withdraw the army from Tamil areas; and

Negotiate with the LTTE (who represent the Tamil people and who are fighting the liberation war on their behalf) under third party mediation.

The convention requests the United Nations fora, to press the Sri Lankan government to withdraw its forces from the occupied Tamil homeland and to initiate peace negotiations to end the conflict.


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